Kimmich out until January after Covid-related lung damage

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich Creator: Christof STACHE

Bayern Munich said Thursday that star midfielder Joshua Kimmich would not return to action until January as he recovers from lung damage caused by Covid-19.

Kimmich, who is unvaccinated, tested positive for coronavirus last month.

"I'm happy my self-isolation caused by the coronavirus has ended," said Kimmich, expected to be one of Germany's leading players at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"I'm doing very well, but I'm not yet able to train fully due to slight infiltrations in my lungs.

"I'll therefore do some rehabilitative training and can't wait to be fully back in action in January."

The midfielder will miss Bayern's home game against FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday, the away game at Stuttgart on December 14 and the final game of the year against Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena on December 17.

Kimmich sparked a vaccination debate in Germany last month when the 26-year-old admitted he had so far opted against being inoculated due to "personal reasons".

The news angered some Bayern fans, as spectators at football matches in Germany must prove they are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid, while the players they come to watch must only show a negative test result.

Bild and Kicker magazine both claimed that Kimmich's teammates Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala had allowed themselves to be vaccinated after being put in quarantine as contact cases.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick also revealed last month that Kimmich had had a change of heart.

"I think it's going in the direction of 'Jo' getting vaccinated," Flick said at a German FA event.

Bayern reportedly told five unvaccinated players that their wages would be docked if they had to quarantine after refusing to have a jab.

One of newly-elected German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's first steps as head of government is expected to be passing a law to make vaccination compulsory from February or March next year.

Most of the political spectrum has rallied behind the previously controversial move although there has been a wave of public dissent against coronavirus curbs.

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